DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 332

CF-MEX
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c/n 332

CF-MEX

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Entries preceded by date are extracts from Canadian Department of Transport archives.

13-Mar-1960. Application for Certificate of Registration for DHC-3 by Eastern Provincial Airways Ltd., Gander, NL.

14-Mar-1960. Allotment CF-MEX DHC-3 msn 332 to de Havilland Aircraft Company of Canada Ltd., Downsview, ON.

14-Apr-1960. Certificate of Airworthiness #8163 issued.

14-Apr-196.0 Certificate of Registration #23002 issued to Eastern Provincial Airways Ltd., Gander, NL.

• CF-MEX Eastern Provincial Airways, Gander, NL. Delivered 20-Apr-1960.

• CF-MEX Leased to Greenlandair (Gronlandsfly A/S), Sondrestrom, Greenland. Circa Apr / May-1960.

Total time: At 13-Mar-1961 489 hours.

Accident: On a small lake north of Sondrestrom, Greenland. 29-Aug-1961. An in-flight fire caused the pilot to force land on the lake. No passengers injured but the pilot Jim Roe subsequently succumbed to the injuries caused by burns received as he beached the aircraft whilst saving the passengers. Further information below.

• CF-MEX Cancelled from Canadian Civil Aircraft Register, 30-Nov-1967.

Destroyed by fire

Otter 332 was delivered to Eastern Provincial Airways of Gander, Newfoundland on 20th April 1960, registered CF-MEX. Marsh Jones, in his book on Eastern Provincial Airways (EPA) entitled 'The Little Airline that Could', describes the delivery: “On April 21st I took delivery of a new Otter from de Havilland in Toronto. The aircraft was on amphibious floats and was destined for Greenland.  A single refuelling stop was made at Moncton, then on to Gander for a total flying time of eleven hours”.

In 1958 EPA had been asked by the Danish Government to provide an air service in Greenland, performing ice reconnaissance, aerial photography and survey work. A Canso was sent to Greenland for this purpose. In 1960 the airline was engaged to supply aircraft, men and facilities for regular passenger service in Greenland, using both Canso and Otter aircraft. These aircraft were operated under lease to Greenlandair (Gronlandsfly A/S) but were flown and maintained by EPA personnel.

Services were to be flown throughout the year, on floats in summer and wheel-skis in winter.

As Marsh Jones describes in his book: “Our most interesting operation involved the requirement for two Otters and one Canso to carry out internal flying operations in southwest Greenland. The three aircraft, Otter CF-LEA (286) flown by Jack Kielley, Otter CF-MEX flown by Ian Massie and Canso CF-CRP flown by Ben Rivard and Paul Bjerg, together with supporting maintenance crews and spares, departed Gander 26th April 1960 with refuelling stops at Goose, Knob lake, Fort Chimo, Frobisher, Cape Dyer and arrived Sondrestrom, Greenland the following day. All aircraft were amphibious, allowing them to operate from the runway at Sondrestrom and on water at the coastal points. The crews were accommodated in the SAS Hotel in Sondrestrom and the Greenland Trade Hotel in Godthaab.”

The Otters were used for scheduled passenger traffic but occasionally flew search and rescue and ambulance flights. The area of operation covered the west coast of Greenland from Upernavik in the north, to Julienehab in the south, and included the airports at Sondrestom and Narssarssuaq, from where connections to Denmark were possible. The Canso was used between Sondrestrom and the capital of Godthaab, while the Otters linked in to the outlying communities, 13 towns and settlements in all, such places as Holsteinborg, Egedesminde, Christianshab, Jakobshavn and Godhavn. The Otters were based at Sondrestrom. During the winter, the operations would occasionally include places as far north as Qutdligssat, Umanaq and Upernavik. During the summer seasons, the aircraft were based in Egedesminde for short periods, operating shuttle flights between the towns in Disco Bay.

Otter CF-MEX, following its delivery to Greenland in April 1960, continued to fly there until it crashed at a small lake just north of Sondrestrom on 29th August 1961. An in-flight fire broke out due to a leak in the carburettor. The pilot made an emergency landing on the lake. None of the passengers was injured, but the pilot was thrown under the Otter as he beached it and sustained serious burns. He was airlifted to hospital in Montréal but sadly died of his injuries. The pilot's name was Jim Rowe, who had been the pilot of EPA Otter CF-GCV (2) when it made its dramatic forced landing on Lower Savage Island, Northwest Territories on 14th October 1958, as already described. He was awarded the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Services in the Air for his actions in saving the passengers of CF-MEX during the forced landing in Greenland. The Otter itself was destroyed by the fire.

Full history up to 2005 courtesy of Karl E Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter - A History (CD-ROM 2005)